“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.” -Matthew 5:23-25
A couple weeks ago my daughter and I were experiencing a typical power struggle over blessed earbuds on our way to church. Tempted to march myself into the service with a smile plastered over my pout, I paused. I remembered Jesus’ words telling us to stop when we’re about to worship and first, make things right with a brother who has something against us. In fact, the next verse emphasizes that we should “come to terms quickly with your accuser” or else you could end up in some serious bondage. That Sunday I quickly passed friends and coffee in the lobby to find my girl and ask forgiveness for my part in our argument.
When you deal with conflict the way Jesus taught, you are sowing obedience to His Word and will reap the fruit of His Spirit. This fruit is evidence of His Presence: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” -Galatians 5:22-23. As I read this list, self-control stands out as a bit of an oddball, but maybe that’s because of its unique purpose. Could it be that self-control is the pause button that allows us to experience Jesus’ nature? When we pause, the Holy Spirit can empower us to think with the mind of Christ and live out His ways. When we pause, the healing Presence of God can be experienced by you and given to others. When we pause, it’s the beginning of peace. There is no spiritual law that can overcome God’s ways – including a teenager with earbuds!
The grace given to you when you pause in conflict is not just to make you feel better. It is for the purpose of displaying Christ’s nature and to minister His love to others. How are you being led to obey and display God in your situation?
Loving Father, thank You for the wisdom You have given me in Your Word. Please empower me to pause in my situation and take a step of obedience in Your ways. I pray for Your Presence to be experienced as I humble myself. Help me to partner with You in my circumstances. It’s in the powerful name of Jesus Christ that I pray, amen.